I have an idea of a hardware product, that has received good feedback until now.Should I fill for a provisional patent or start an indiegogo campaign?

From what I understood once I have filled for a patent, I can't have a public campaign about the product as I have less chances for the patent to be accepted.


The answer: do both. The first thing you need to know about patents is that the U.S. now has a first-inventor-to-file system after the American Invents Act (AIA) went into effect in 2013. I have to disagree with Dan above: for hardware inventions especially, a patent is an important part of the business plan. The first inventor who "races to the patent office" now is typically the winner. This means if you do not file for a patent on your invention, you can lose the rights to your invention much easier than before the AIA.

The next step is to think about how a patent fits into your business plan. A patent application is but a tool in your bag when starting up. A crowdsourcing campaign on a site like Indiegogo can validate the idea. But it also puts the idea out to the public and starts the 1-year clock ticking on when you can get a patent.

For hardware startups, however, if you're not thinking about a patent upfront -- you're likely leaving a massive amount of your product's value on the table.

Answered 10 years ago

I make my living in patents and have seen this story many times. I hate to say it, but the answer is figure out the business and then file the application (unless you are into lottery tickets). It is the business that makes money and you need to know how that will happen.

If you do a quick and cheap provisional filing, (a) you get quick and cheap and (b) you start the one year clock ticking. May as well put your back into it right away to know why you should spend the money on patents before you spend it.

That is my two cents.

Disclaimer: 1) I am a full time patent lawyer; 2) I have sold IP portfolios for many millions of dollars and 3) I have built multi-million dollar businesses and the third is my personal preference.

Answered 10 years ago

From my experience, I would file for a provisional and then do a public campaign.

Answered 10 years ago


You don't have a plan for how you are going to sell your product. Everybody loves everything until you ask them to pay for it -- especially big companies with money to spend on your razzle dazzle new hardware. Why are you spending money on lawyers when you need to be spending money on a damn good business plan.


Go do more homework before you decide to file paperwork. Keep that money in your pocket. Invest in exploring new sales channels, marketing ideas, and strategic distributor relationships.

Answered 10 years ago

Check out the interview I did with the Founder of Huli Huli on
Also, I'd look at the Sell Something function on
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Thanks, and good luck.

Answered 10 years ago

There are lot of questions here. First, you got good feedback -- from whom? If from your friends and family, that's worthless. If from a professor or consultant of any sort, that worse than worthless.

The only feedback that is worth anything of course is the market itself. IF the product sells, it's good; if it doesn't, it's no good. Since that makes its chicken and egg issue, the next best feedback is from someone who has sold something similar in the market and has been successful at it. Everyone else is just guessing, at best.

Unless you can say that the feedback you got is from someone else who holds a patent in the same field and has worked for or started company that because very successful selling that. For instance, if I want to sell a new type of soft drink, I would want feedback from someone who has sold new soft drinks successfully in the past few years.

Assuming you have that feedback, and it is positive, then you must consider why a indiegogo campaign? The fact is that most campaigns fail to raise any money at all, much less their targeted goal. To do a successful indiegogo campaigns requires several months of planning and quite a bit of time, effort and money to get the word out. Do you have a marketing plan that will drive at least 10,000 people to your indigogo video?

These are questions I would address before doing either action.

Answered 8 years ago

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